Health Insurance For Your Cat.
Learn From My Mistakes!
You may be wondering whether it’s worthwhile taking out health insurance for your cat or kitten. He’s really healthy now, you may be thinking, and will probably stay healthy for years and years – maybe I’ll leave it a while or just not bother at all...
I’ve owned lots of cats over the years (or rather they've owned me...) and I'd like to share some of my experiences with you. Until very recently, I never bothered with cat health insurance. I kept convincing myself "you don't need health insurance for your cat!"
Below are the health “diaries” of three of my much loved – and now sadly departed – kitties. I haven’t listed every single visit to the vet, just the major illnesses, problems and treatments they had. I got all of these cats when they were kittens – about 7 weeks old. All of them were bright, bouncing, full of energy and healthy. Nothing could go wrong... surely...
Rodney: May 1988 – September 2005
Little Rodders was very healthy for the first 7 years or so of his life. He then got cat bladder stones for the first time. He had to be hospitalized for a few days and treated with antibiotics and steroids.
The bladder stones came back about 8 months later, and he was treated the same way again. Then a few months later they came back again. This time the vet suggested surgery to widen the exit to his bladder. He had the surgery and was hospitalized for 10 days. Thankfully, after this, the problem was resolved.
When he was about 10 years old he had a couple of bad teeth extracted.
He then stayed in good health until May 2005, when he suddenly lost his appetite and started to lose weight. He had scans and numerous blood tests but the vet couldn’t find anything wrong. He continued to deteriorate despite desperate efforts to diagnose and treat him, and unfortunately he died in September 2005.
Sybil: April 1990 – July 2003
Sybil was a gorgeous longhaired dark tortie moggie. From a very young age, she kept getting eye infections. I’d take her to the vet, she’d be treated, be OK for a while, then they’d come back. The frequency lessened as she got a bit older, but she had cat eye problems for the whole of her life.
She had some bad teeth out when she was about 6 years old.
She was generally fine until she was 11 years old, when I noticed she’d developed a raging thirst. Blood tests revealed she had chronic cat kidney failure. We managed to give her 2 more years of quality life until she passed away in September 2003, but this involved monthly – sometimes more frequent – visits to the vet, injections, tablets and a special diet.
Daisy: April 1990 – January 2008
Daisy and Sybil were twins. They were both adorable. When Daisy was about 4 months old she tried to jump on top of a wardrobe that was much too high, fell awkwardly and dislocated her hip. This had to be fixed under anesthetic and she needed a series of X-rays before and after the procedure.
Daisy also had an allergy to cat fleas and standard cat food. She needed a hypoallergenic diet all her life and had a lot of trips to the vet to get steroid injections when the cat skin problems flared up.
She was OK until Christmas 2007, when practically overnight she started to have problems breathing. I rushed her to the vet who diagnosed heart failure. She was treated and was OK for a few weeks (though she’d clearly lost her spark), but it came back with a vengeance despite treatment and she died at the end of January 2008.
You’ll notice my cats’ health diaries are pretty long and complex for kittens that were bouncing and healthy. And I’m sure you can imagine how much the vets’ bills cost. I don’t know exactly how much I’ve spent on vets’ bills for these and the rest of my cats – I don’t want to know to be honest. But one thing I do know with absolute certainty is I’d have been much better off taking out cat health insurance. Health insurance for your cat is, I now believe, much cheaper in the long run than a load of ad hoc bills.
I don’t think I’ve been particularly unlucky with adopting “unhealthy” cats. Some of my friends have had cats with far worse problems than mine. Ultimately it’s your decision as to whether you take out health insurance for your cat. My advice, which you’ve probably guessed by now, is do it. You may well kick yourself if you don’t...
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